Boeotia

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Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia (icon or b; , vi.oˈti.a, bojɔːtía; modern transliteration Voiotía, also Viotía, formerly Cadmeis), is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. Its capital is Livadeia
Livadeia
Livadeia is a city in central Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture Boeotia. Livadeia is located 130 km NW of Athens, E of Nafpaktos, ESE of Amfissa and Desfina, SE of Lamia and west of Chalkida. Livadeia is linked with GR-48 and several kilometres west of GR-3. The area around Livadeia...

, the second largest city being Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

.

Geography


Boeotia lies to the north of the eastern part of the Gulf of Corinth
Gulf of Corinth
The Gulf of Corinth or the Corinthian Gulf is a deep inlet of the Ionian Sea separating the Peloponnese from western mainland Greece...

. It also has a short coastline on the Gulf of Euboea
Gulf of Euboea
The Gulf of Euboea, Euboean Gulf, Euboic Sea or Euboic Gulf is an arm of the Aegean Sea between the island of Euboea and the Greek mainland . Trending diagonally northwest-southeast, the gulf is divided by the narrow Strait of Euripus, at the town of Chalcis...

. It bordered on Megaris
Megaris
This is also the ancient Greek name of a small island off Naples, site of the Castel dell'Ovo.Megaris or the Megarid was a small but populous state of ancient Greece, west of Attica and north of Corinthia, whose inhabitants were adventurous seafarers, credited with deceitful propensities...

 (now West Attica
West Attica
West Attica is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Attica. The capital of the regional unit is the town of Elefsina. The regional unit covers the western part of the agglomeration of Athens, and the area to its west....

) in the south, Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

 in the southeast, Chalcis
Chalcis
Chalcis or Chalkida , the chief town of the island of Euboea in Greece, is situated on the strait of the Evripos at its narrowest point. The name is preserved from antiquity and is derived from the Greek χαλκός , though there is no trace of any mines in the area...

 (now part of the regional unit Euboea) in the northeast, Opuntian Locris
Opuntian Locris
Opuntian Locris or Eastern Locris was an ancient Greek region inhabited by the eastern division of the Locrians, the so-called tribe of the Locri Epicnemidii or Locri Opuntii .-Geography:...

 (now part of Phthiotis
Phthiotis
Phthiotis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece. The capital is the city of Lamia. It is bordered by the Malian Gulf to the east, Boeotia in the south, Phocis in the south, Aetolia-Acarnania in the southwest, Evrytania in the west,...

) in the north and Phocis
Phocis
Phocis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece. It stretches from the western mountainsides of Parnassus on the east to the mountain range of Vardousia on the west, upon the Gulf of Corinth...

 in the west.

The main mountain ranges of Boeotia are Mount Parnassus
Mount Parnassus
Mount Parnassus, also Parnassos , is a mountain of limestone in central Greece that towers above Delphi, north of the Gulf of Corinth, and offers scenic views of the surrounding olive groves and countryside. According to Greek mythology, this mountain was sacred to Apollo and the Corycian nymphs,...

 in the west, Mount Helicon in the southwest, Kithairon
Kithairon
Kithairon is a mountain range about 10 mi long, in central Greece, standing between Boeotia in the north and Attica in the south. It is mainly composed of limestone and rises to 4,623 ft...

 in the south and Parnitha
Parnitha
Mount Parnitha is a densely forested mountain range north of Athens, the highest on the peninsula of Attica, with an elevation of 1,413 m and a summit known as Karavola...

 in the east. Its longest river, the Cephissus
Cephissus (Boeotia)
The northern Cephissus river or Cephisus rises at Lilaea in Phocis and flows by Delphi through Boeotia and eventually issues into Lake Copais which is therefore also called the Cephisian Lake...

 (Kifisos), flows in the central part, where most of the low-lying areas of Boeotia are found. Lake Copais
Lake Copais
Lake Copais, Kopais, or Kopaida used to be in the centre of Boeotia, Greece, west of Thebes until the late 19th century. The area where it was located, though now a plain, is still known as Kopaida.- Drainage :...

 was a large lake in the center of Boeotia. It was drained in the 19th century. Lake Yliki is a large lake near Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

.

Boeotia has a Mediterranean climate.

Legends


Boeotia was one of the earliest inhabited regions in prehistoric Greece. Many Greek ancient legends, including a number related to the aboriginal population, seem to originate in this region. The Muses of Mount Helicon, the myths of Oedipus
Oedipus
Oedipus was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. He fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thus brought disaster on his city and family...

 and the sphinx
Sphinx
A sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head or a cat head.The sphinx, in Greek tradition, has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless...

, of Dionysos and Semele
Semele
Semele , in Greek mythology, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths. In another version of his mythic origin, he is the son of Persephone...

, of Amphion
Amphion
There are several characters named Amphion in Greek mythology:* Amphion, son of Zeus and Antiope, and twin brother of Zethus . Together they are famous for building Thebes. Amphion married Niobe, and killed himself after the loss of his wife and children at the hands of Apollo and Artemis...

 and Antiope
Antiope (mother of Amphion)
In Greek mythology, Antiope was the name of the daughter of the Boeotian river god Asopus, according to Homer; in later sources she is called the daughter of the "nocturnal" king Nycteus of Thebes or, in the Cypria, of Lycurgus, but for Homer her site is purely Boeotian. Her beauty attracted Zeus,...

, the myth of King Kadmus as bringer of the alphabet
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

, the mythic king Ogyges
Ogyges
Ogyges, Ogygus or Ogygos is a primeval mythological ruler in ancient Greece, generally of Boeotia, but an alternative tradition makes him the first king of Attica.-Etymology:...

 related to the first mentioned great deluge, and many other legends became part of the Greek culture. It seems that the older myths took their final form during the Mycenean age (1600-1200 BC) when the Mycenean Greeks established themselves in Boeotia and the city of Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

 became an important centre. Many of these legends are related to the myths of Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

 in southern Greece which is close to Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

, the most powerful Mycenean kingdom. Some of them indicate connections with Phoenecia, where the Mycenean Greeks and later the Euboean Greeks
Euboea
Euboea is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about long, and varies in breadth from to...

 established trading posts.

Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

, the ancient poet of Theogony
Theogony
The Theogony is a poem by Hesiod describing the origins and genealogies of the gods of the ancient Greeks, composed circa 700 BC...

 who included many legends of the first Greek cosmogony and in the genealogy of the gods, was born in Boeotia. Later Pindar
Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

, the great Greek poet born in Thebes, seems to have been influenced by an older religion different from the Olympic
Twelve Olympians
The Twelve Olympians, also known as the Dodekatheon , in Greek mythology, were the principal deities of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hades were siblings. Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis were children of Zeus...

 pantheon
Pantheon (gods)
A pantheon is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a...

. In Lebadea was the ancient oracular shrine of Trophonius
Trophonius
Trophonius or Trophonios was a Greek hero or daimon or god - it was never certain which one - with a rich mythological tradition and an oracular cult at Lebadaea in Boeotia....

, related to the old chthonic
Chthonic
Chthonic designates, or pertains to, deities or spirits of the underworld, especially in relation to Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for "earth"; it typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land or the land as territory...

 religion. Many of these legends were used as themes by the tragic Greek poets, in their masterpieces Oedipus the king
Oedipus the King
Oedipus the King , also known by the Latin title Oedipus Rex, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed c. 429 BCE. It was the second of Sophocles's three Theban plays to be produced, but it comes first in the internal chronology, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone...

, Antigone
Antigone
In Greek mythology, Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, Oedipus' mother. The name may be taken to mean "unbending", coming from "anti-" and "-gon / -gony" , but has also been suggested to mean "opposed to motherhood", "in place of a mother", or "anti-generative", based from the root...

, Seven against Thebes
Seven Against Thebes
The Seven against Thebes is the third play in an Oedipus-themed trilogy produced by Aeschylus in 467 BC. The trilogy is sometimes referred to as the Oedipodea. It concerns the battle between an Argive army led by Polynices and the army of Thebes led by Eteocles and his supporters. The trilogy won...

, Antiope and also in the lost play Niobe
Niobe
Niobe was a daughter of Tantalus and of either Dione, the most frequently cited, or of Eurythemista or Euryanassa, and she was the sister of Pelops and Broteas, all of whom figure in Greek mythology....

.

Ogyges


Boeotia plays a prominent part in Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

. Of the two great centres of legends, Thebes
Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

, with its Cadmean
Cadmus
Cadmus or Kadmos , in Greek mythology was a Phoenician prince, the son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa. He was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores...

 population, figures as a military stronghold, and Orchomenus, the home of the Minyae, as an enterprising commercial city. The mythical aboriginal king Ogyges
Ogyges
Ogyges, Ogygus or Ogygos is a primeval mythological ruler in ancient Greece, generally of Boeotia, but an alternative tradition makes him the first king of Attica.-Etymology:...

 is best known as king of the Ectenes
Ectenes
The Ectenes or Hectenes were, in Greek mythology, the autochthones or earliest inhabitants of Boeotia, where the city of Thebes would later be founded....

 or Hectenes who were the autochthones or earliest inhabitants of Boeotia, where the city of Thebes
Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

 would later be founded. As such, he became the first ruler of Thebes, which was at that time named Ogygia (Ὠγυγία) after him. Subsequently, poets referred to the Thebans as Ogygidae (Ὠγυγίδαι). The first worldwide deluge of Greek mythology, named Ogygian, is mentioned during his reign and the name seems to be related to Okeanos (Ocean
Ocean
An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.More than half of this area is over 3,000...

), the great river which was believed to surround the earth. The word seems to be derived from a Phoenecian root meaning "to encircle". Later Ogygian came to mean "from earliest days".

John Chadwick
John Chadwick
John Chadwick was an English linguist and classical scholar most famous for his role in deciphering Linear B, along with Michael Ventris.-Early life and education:...

 speculatively relates the name of Perse
Oceanid
In Greek mythology and, later, Roman mythology, the Oceanids were the three thousand daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Each was the patroness of a particular spring, river, sea, lake, pond, pasture, flower or cloud...

, daughter of Okeanos, with the name of the vegetation goddess Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

, who in some versions appears as Persephione
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

, daughter of Minyas
Minyas (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Minyas was the founder of Orchomenus, Boetia. As the ancestor of the Minyans, a number of Boeotian genealogies lead back to him, according to the classicist H.J. Rose...

. Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

 distinguishes Boeotian Thebes from Ogygian
Ogyges
Ogyges, Ogygus or Ogygos is a primeval mythological ruler in ancient Greece, generally of Boeotia, but an alternative tradition makes him the first king of Attica.-Etymology:...

 Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

 (Egyptian), indicating the relation of Ogyges with the East.

Amphion and Antiope


The myth of Amphion
Amphion
There are several characters named Amphion in Greek mythology:* Amphion, son of Zeus and Antiope, and twin brother of Zethus . Together they are famous for building Thebes. Amphion married Niobe, and killed himself after the loss of his wife and children at the hands of Apollo and Artemis...

, the legendary founder of Thebes, and Antiope
Antiope (mother of Amphion)
In Greek mythology, Antiope was the name of the daughter of the Boeotian river god Asopus, according to Homer; in later sources she is called the daughter of the "nocturnal" king Nycteus of Thebes or, in the Cypria, of Lycurgus, but for Homer her site is purely Boeotian. Her beauty attracted Zeus,...

 is the transformation of ancient legends that seem to have inspired a lot of other similar myths in several areas of Greece. Amphion was son of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and of Antiope, daughter of the Boeotian
Boeotian
Boeotian may refer to:* The people from Boeotia, a region of central ancient Greece* One of several sub-dialects of the Aeolic Greek dialect of the Greek language, spoken by the Boeotians....

 river god Asopus
Asopus
Asopus or Asôpos is the name of four different rivers in Greece and one in Turkey. In Greek mythology, it was the name of the gods of those rivers.-The rivers in Greece:...

. The myth took a Dionysiac colour because Zeus was transformed into a satyr
Satyr
In Greek mythology, satyrs are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus — "satyresses" were a late invention of poets — that roamed the woods and mountains. In myths they are often associated with pipe-playing....

 in a sole mythic event and Antiope into a maenad
Maenad
In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus , the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god's retinue. Their name literally translates as "raving ones"...

. After this she was carried off by Epopeus
Epopeus
Epopeus was a mythical Greek king of Sicyon, with an archaic bird-name that linked him to epops , the hoopoe, the "watcher"...

 in Sicyon
Sicyon
Sikyon was an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea on the territory of the present-day prefecture of Corinthia...

, where he was venerated later as a hero in the temenos
Temenos
Temenos is a piece of land cut off and assigned as an official domain, especially to kings and chiefs, or a piece of land marked off from common uses and dedicated to a god, a sanctuary, holy grove or holy precinct: The Pythian race-course is called a temenos, the sacred valley of the Nile is the ...

 of Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

. Burkert notices the similarity with the myth of Athena Polias
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 and Erechtheus
Erechtheus
Erechtheus in Greek mythology was the name of an archaic king of Athens, the re-founder of the polis and a double at Athens for Poseidon, as "Poseidon Erechtheus"...

 in Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

. Returning to Thebes, on Mount Kithairon
Kithairon
Kithairon is a mountain range about 10 mi long, in central Greece, standing between Boeotia in the north and Attica in the south. It is mainly composed of limestone and rises to 4,623 ft...

 she gave birth to the twins Amphion, son of the god, and Zethus, son of the mortal Epopeus
Epopeus
Epopeus was a mythical Greek king of Sicyon, with an archaic bird-name that linked him to epops , the hoopoe, the "watcher"...

. A passage in fragments exists in Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

's Catalogue of women
Catalogue of Women
thumb|275px|[[Guido Reni]]'s first Atalanta e Ippomene , depicting the race of [[Atalanta]], a myth which was known to Reni from [[Ovid]]'s [[Metamorphoses]], but is now also represented by several fragments of the Catalogue of Women.The Catalogue of Women —also known as...

. Other twins of similar dual parentage are the Greek Dioscuri who often appear as snakes, protecting the temples. Amphion, the founder of Thebes, became a great singer and musician with a golden lyre, and huge blocks of stone formed themselves into the walls of Thebes, the city with the seven gates. His brother Zethus became a hunter and a herdsman and the two brothers represent the contrast between two different lifestyles. In Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

' tragedy Antiope they contrasted in debate their active and contemplative lives.

Dionysos, to whose worship Antiope was devoted, visited her with madness, causing her to wander restlessly all over Greece until she was cured. This myth is similar to that of Io
Io (mythology)
Io was, in Greek mythology, a priestess of Hera in Argos, a nymph who was seduced by Zeus, who changed her into a heifer to escape detection. His wife Hera set ever-watchful Argus Panoptes to guard her, but Hermes was sent to distract the guardian and slay him...

, a priestess of the goddess Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

 in Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

 who was stung by a gadfly
Horse-fly
Insects in the order Diptera, family Tabanidae, are commonly called horse flies. Often considered pests for the bites that many inflict, they are among the world's largest true flies. They are known to be extremely noisy during flight. They are also important pollinators of flowers, especially in...

 and wandered in madness to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Her sons Cadmus
Cadmus
Cadmus or Kadmos , in Greek mythology was a Phoenician prince, the son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa. He was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores...

 and Danaos returned to Greece, where they became kings of Thebes and Argos.

Semele and Dionysos


Semele
Semele
Semele , in Greek mythology, daughter of the Boeotian hero Cadmus and Harmonia, was the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus in one of his many origin myths. In another version of his mythic origin, he is the son of Persephone...

, in Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 was daughter of Cadmus
Cadmus
Cadmus or Kadmos , in Greek mythology was a Phoenician prince, the son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa. He was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores...

,an autochthonous Boeotian hero,and Harmonia.She was the mortal mother of Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 by Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 in one of his many origin myths mentioned by Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

. Greeks in Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 preserved a tradition that Zagreus
Zagreus
In ancient Greek religion and myth, the obscure and ancient figure of Zagreus was identified with the god Dionysus and was worshipped by followers of Orphism, whose late Orphic hymns invoke his name....

 who was identified with Dionysos was the son of Zeus and Persephone.
The name Semele, like other elements of Dionysiac cult
Dionysian Mysteries
The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. It also provided some liberation for those marginalized by Greek...

 (e.g., thyrsus
Thyrsus
In Greek mythology, a thyrsus or thyrsos was a staff of giant fennel covered with ivy vines and leaves, sometimes wound with taeniae and always topped with a pine cone. These staffs were carried by Dionysus and his followers. Euripides wrote that honey dripped from the thyrsos staves that the...

 and dithyramb
Dithyramb
The dithyramb was an ancient Greek hymn sung and danced in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility; the term was also used as an epithet of the god: Plato, in The Laws, while discussing various kinds of music mentions "the birth of Dionysos, called, I think, the dithyramb." Plato also...

) seem to be of Thraco
Thracians
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

-Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

n origin. The myth of Cadmus
Cadmus
Cadmus or Kadmos , in Greek mythology was a Phoenician prince, the son of king Agenor and queen Telephassa of Tyre and the brother of Phoenix, Cilix and Europa. He was originally sent by his royal parents to seek out and escort his sister Europa back to Tyre after she was abducted from the shores...

 the builder of the walls of Thebes
Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

 (Cadmeia) indicates like many other Mycenean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 myths the relations with Phoenecia,however the original character of Semele as an earth goddess is transparently evident.Julius Pokorny
Julius Pokorny
Julius Pokorny was an Austrian linguist and scholar of the Celtic languages, particularly Irish, and a supporter of Irish nationalism. He held academic posts in Austrian and German universities.-Life:...

 reconstructs her name from a PIE
Pie
A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients....

 root meaning "earth" and relates it with Thracian
Thracians
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

 Zemele,"mother earth".

According to the Greek tradition the cult of Dionysos was introduced later from Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

,however Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

 is referring to the temple of Ariadne
Ariadne
Ariadne , in Greek mythology, was the daughter of King Minos of Crete, and his queen Pasiphaë, daughter of Helios, the Sun-titan. She aided Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur and was the bride of the god Dionysus.-Minos and Theseus:...

 (Minoan vegetation goddess) and the Cretan
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 Dionysos in Peloponnesus.The name appears also in the Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

 (Mycenean Greek) tablets,and there are some parallels with the cult of the "divine child" (goettliches Kind) in Minoan
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

 Crete. In that regard an indigenous cult of Dionysos existed in Greece which was mixed with the cult of Zagreus
Zagreus
In ancient Greek religion and myth, the obscure and ancient figure of Zagreus was identified with the god Dionysus and was worshipped by followers of Orphism, whose late Orphic hymns invoke his name....

, with Thracian origin,who was devoured by the Titans
Titan (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the Titans were a race of powerful deities, descendants of Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the legendary Golden Age....

, the ancestors of the humankind. In Greek a hunter who catches living animals is called zagreus, Karl Kerenyi
Karl Kerényi
Károly Kerényi was a Hungarian scholar in classical philology, one of the founders of modern studies in Greek mythology.- Hungary 1897–1943 :...

 notes, and the Ionian word zagre signifies a "pit for the capture of live animals"

The most usual setting for the story of Semele is the palace that occupied the Cadmeia,the acropolis of Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

.When Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

 visited Thebes in the 2nd century AD, he was shown the very bridal chamber where Zeus visited her and begat Dionysus. Since an Oriental inscribed cylindrical seal found at the palace can be dated 14th-13th centuries BC, the myth of Semele must be Mycenaean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 or earlier. Though the Greek myth of Semele was localized in Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

, the fragmentary Homeric Hymn to Dionysus makes ,the distant and mythically vague mountain Nysa
Nysa (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the mountainous district of Nysa, variously associated with Ethiopia, Libya, Tribalia, India or Arabia by Greek mythographers, was the traditional place where the rain nymphs, the Hyades, raised the infant god Dionysus, the "Zeus of Nysa"...

 the place where Zeus gave a second birth to the god.

Niobe and Chloris


In a myth Amphion married the Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

n princess Niobe
Niobe
Niobe was a daughter of Tantalus and of either Dione, the most frequently cited, or of Eurythemista or Euryanassa, and she was the sister of Pelops and Broteas, all of whom figure in Greek mythology....

 and killed himself after the loss of his wife and children. Niobe had fourteen children, seven male and seven female and boasted of them to Leto
Leto
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus...

, because the nymph had only two children, the twins Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

 and Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

. In his archaic role as bringer of diseases and death, Apollo with his arrows killed Niobe's sons and Artemis with her arrows killed Niobe's daughters. The myth of the seven Athenian youths and seven maidens who were sent every year to the king Minos
Minos
In Greek mythology, Minos was a king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Every year he made King Aegeus pick seven men and seven women to go to Daedalus' creation, the labyrinth, to be eaten by The Minotaur. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades. The Minoan civilization of Crete...

 of Crete as an offering sacrifice to the terrible Minotaur
Minotaur
In Greek mythology, the Minotaur , as the Greeks imagined him, was a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man or, as described by Roman poet Ovid, "part man and part bull"...

 seems to be related. Niobe was transformed into a stone on Mount Sipylus
Mount Sipylus
Mount Spil , the ancient Mount Sipylus , is a mountain rich in legends and history in Manisa Province, Turkey, in what used to be the heartland of the Lydians and what is now Turkey's Aegean Region....

 in her homeland of Phrygia
Phrygia
In antiquity, Phrygia was a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Phrygians initially lived in the southern Balkans; according to Herodotus, under the name of Bryges , changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the...

, where she brooded over the sorrows sent by the gods. In Antigone
Antigone
In Greek mythology, Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, Oedipus' mother. The name may be taken to mean "unbending", coming from "anti-" and "-gon / -gony" , but has also been suggested to mean "opposed to motherhood", "in place of a mother", or "anti-generative", based from the root...

 the heroine believes that she will have a similar death.
The magic number "seven" which often appears in Greek legends seems to represent a very ancient tradition because it appears as a lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

 with seven strings in the Hagia Triada sarcophagus
Hagia triada
Hagia Triada is the archaeological site of an ancient Minoan settlement. Hagia Triada is situated on a prominent coastal ridge, with the Mesara Plain below. Hagia triada sits at the western end of the ridge, while Phaistos is at the eastern end...

 in Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 during the Mycenean age. Apollo's lyre had also seven strings.

The only Niobid spared stayed greenish pale from horror for the rest of her life, and for that reason she was called Chloris
Chloris
thumb|250px|right| "As she talks, her lips breathe spring roses:I was Chloris, who am now called Flora." [[Ovid]]There are many stories in Greek mythology about figures named Chloris...

 (the pale one). Chloris was a nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

 associated with springs, flowers and new growth. In Homer's Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

 the mythical vegetation goddess Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

 is daughter of Minyas
Minyas (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Minyas was the founder of Orchomenus, Boetia. As the ancestor of the Minyans, a number of Boeotian genealogies lead back to him, according to the classicist H.J. Rose...

 and mother of Chloris. In that regard the myth of the abduction of the vegetation goddess from Hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

 and her return, representing the dying and regeneration of nature which is mentioned by Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

 and appears in many ancient agricultural societies can be related with the Minyans
Minyans
According to Greek mythology and legendary prehistory of the Aegean region, the Minyans were an autochthonous group inhabiting the Aegean region...

, the first inhabitants of Boeotia.John Chadwick
John Chadwick
John Chadwick was an English linguist and classical scholar most famous for his role in deciphering Linear B, along with Michael Ventris.-Early life and education:...

 speculatively relates the name of Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

 with the name of Perse
Oceanid
In Greek mythology and, later, Roman mythology, the Oceanids were the three thousand daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Each was the patroness of a particular spring, river, sea, lake, pond, pasture, flower or cloud...

, daughter of Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

.

Graia: Hellenes and Greeks


Graia (Γραία), which means "old woman" (Proto-Greek language
Proto-Greek language
The Proto-Greek language is the assumed last common ancestor of all known varieties of Greek, including Mycenaean, the classical Greek dialects , and ultimately Koine, Byzantine and modern Greek...

,grau-j), was a city on the coast of Boeotia and was said to be the oldest city of Greece. The word Γραικός
Graecus
Graecus or Græcus was, according to Hesiod's "Eoiae" or Catalogue of Women on the origin of the Greeks, the son of Pandora II and Zeus...

 (Graekos, Greek) is interpreted as "inhabitant of Graia" by some authors. The German historian George Bussolt suggested that the name Graeci was given initially by the Romans to the colonists from Graia who helped the Euboea
Euboea
Euboea is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about long, and varies in breadth from to...

ns to establish Cumae
Cumae
Cumae is an ancient Greek settlement lying to the northwest of Naples in the Italian region of Campania. Cumae was the first Greek colony on the mainland of Italy , and the seat of the Cumaean Sibyl...

 in southern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, and was then used for all Greeks. Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 said that this city was created before the deluge. The same assertion about the origins of Graia city is found in an ancient marble, the Parian Chronicle
Parian Chronicle
The Parian Marble or Parian Chronicle is a Greek chronological table, covering the years from 1581 BC to 264 BC, inscribed on a stele...

, discovered in 1687 and dated to 267-263 BC, that is currently kept in Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

 and on Paros
Paros
Paros is an island of Greece in the central Aegean Sea. One of the Cyclades island group, it lies to the west of Naxos, from which it is separated by a channel about wide. It lies approximately south-east of Piraeus. The Municipality of Paros includes numerous uninhabited offshore islets...

. Reports about this ancient city can be also found in Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, in Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

, in Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

, etc.

Origins


The name Pelasgians
Pelasgians
The name Pelasgians was used by some ancient Greek writers to refer to populations that were either the ancestors of the Greeks or who preceded the Greeks in Greece, "a hold-all term for any ancient, primitive and presumably indigenous people in the Greek world." In general, "Pelasgian" has come...

 was used by some ancient Greek writers to refer to the populations who preceded the Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 in Greece. In the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 uses this name for the inhabitants of Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

 around Dodona
Dodona
Dodona in Epirus in northwestern Greece, was an oracle devoted to a Mother Goddess identified at other sites with Rhea or Gaia, but here called Dione, who was joined and partly supplanted in historical times by the Greek god Zeus.The shrine of Dodona was regarded as the oldest Hellenic oracle,...

, and the inhabitants of Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

. The earliest inhabitants of Boeotia associated with the city of Orchomenus, were called Minyans
Minyans
According to Greek mythology and legendary prehistory of the Aegean region, the Minyans were an autochthonous group inhabiting the Aegean region...

 and the Greeks did not clearly distinguish the Minyan from the Pelasgian culture. Pausanias mentions that they established the maritime Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

n city of Teos
Teos
Teos or Teo was a maritime city of Ionia, on a peninsula between Chytrium and Myonnesus, colonized by Orchomenian Minyans, Ionians, and Boeotians. The city is situated on a low hilly narrow strip of land connecting two larger areas of land . Teos ranked among twelve cities comprising the Ionian...

, and it seems that they also occupied the islands of Lemnos
Lemnos
Lemnos is an island of Greece in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Lemnos peripheral unit, which is part of the North Aegean Periphery. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Myrina...

 and Thera. The Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

 were sometimes referred to as Minyans, and according to legend the citizens of Thebes paid an annual tribute to their king Erginus
Erginus
In Greek mythology, Erginus was king of Minyan Orchomenus in Boeotia. He was the son of Clymenus, his predecessor, and Buzyge . Erginus avenged his father's death at the hands of the Thebans; he made war against Thebes, inflicting a heavy defeat. The Thebans were compelled to pay King Erginus a...

. The Minyans may have been Proto Greek
Proto-Greek language
The Proto-Greek language is the assumed last common ancestor of all known varieties of Greek, including Mycenaean, the classical Greek dialects , and ultimately Koine, Byzantine and modern Greek...

 speaking people; but although most scholars today agree that the Mycenean Greeks descended from the Minyans of the Middle Helladic period, they believe that the progenitors and founders of Minyan culture
Minyans
According to Greek mythology and legendary prehistory of the Aegean region, the Minyans were an autochthonous group inhabiting the Aegean region...

 were an autochthonous group.
The early wealth and power of Boeotia is shown by the reputation and visible Mycenean remains of several of its cities, especially Orchomenus and Thebes
Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

.

The origin of Boeotians lies in the mountain Boeon in the region of Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

-West Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ia, where Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 believed that Ancient Hellas existed. In the same region around Dodona
Dodona
Dodona in Epirus in northwestern Greece, was an oracle devoted to a Mother Goddess identified at other sites with Rhea or Gaia, but here called Dione, who was joined and partly supplanted in historical times by the Greek god Zeus.The shrine of Dodona was regarded as the oldest Hellenic oracle,...

, Homer refers to Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, god of Pelasgi
Pelasgians
The name Pelasgians was used by some ancient Greek writers to refer to populations that were either the ancestors of the Greeks or who preceded the Greeks in Greece, "a hold-all term for any ancient, primitive and presumably indigenous people in the Greek world." In general, "Pelasgian" has come...

 who ruled over the oracular shrine, and to his prophets the Selloi
Selloi
Selloi were inhabitants of Epirus of ancient Greece, in a region between Dodona - where existed the oldest reported oracle - and Achelous river. Aristotle names this area ancient Hellas. There the Selloi dwelt and those who were formerly called Graeci and later Hellenes. According to Homer, they...

. Aristotle in his Meteorologica connects the name Graecus
Graecus
Graecus or Græcus was, according to Hesiod's "Eoiae" or Catalogue of Women on the origin of the Greeks, the son of Pandora II and Zeus...

 with Graii, the native name of a Dorian tribe in Epirus which was used for the Greeks by the Illyrians
Illyrians
The Illyrians were a group of tribes who inhabited part of the western Balkans in antiquity and the south-eastern coasts of the Italian peninsula...

. However it is more likely that the original homeland of the Greeks was in central Greece.

Some toponyms and the common Aeolic dialect indicate that the Boeotians were related to the Thessalians. It seems that the Boeotians originally occupied Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

, the largest fertile plain in Greece,and were dispossesed by the north-western Thessalians traditionally two generations after the fall of Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

 (1200 BC). They moved south and settled in another rich plain. Others filtered across the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 and settled on Lesbos extending from there to the adjacent Aeolis
Aeolis
Aeolis or Aeolia was an area that comprised the west and northwestern region of Asia Minor, mostly along the coast, and also several offshore islands , where the Aeolian Greek city-states were located...

 in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

. Others also stayed but formed an extending populace (perioikis) round the new-comers (perioikoi,"living around"),by withdrawing in the surrounding hill country that is Perrhaebia
Perrhaebia
Perrhaebia was the northest district of ancient Thessaly, where the tribe of Perrhaebi lived. Major cities were: Pythion, Doliche, Azorus, Oloosson and Phallana the capital. Perrhaebia was part of Macedonia between 4th and 1st centuries BC....

, Magnesia and Achaea Phthiotis which has been Achilleus country on the south. The name Hellenes was firstly used by Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 for a tribe in this region.

The first Amhictyonie


Though far from Anthela, which lay on the coast of Malis south of Thessaly in the locality of Thermopylae
Thermopylae
Thermopylae is a location in Greece where a narrow coastal passage existed in antiquity. It derives its name from its hot sulphur springs. "Hot gates" is also "the place of hot springs and cavernous entrances to Hades"....

 ("hot gates", that is the place of hot springs and cavernous entrances to Hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

), Boeotia seems to have been an early member of the oldest religious Amphictyonic League
Amphictyonic League
In the Archaic period of ancient Greece, an amphictyony , a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient association of Greek tribes formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek polis...

 (Anthelian) because her people had originally lived in Thessaly.

Certainly Thessaly had a share in this association of Greek states, the ancient Amphictiony ("dwellers-round') centered on the cult of the chthonic
Chthonic
Chthonic designates, or pertains to, deities or spirits of the underworld, especially in relation to Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for "earth"; it typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land or the land as territory...

 goddess Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

 at Anthela. The twelve delegates were entitled Pylagorai (gate- assemblers), perhaps a reference to the local Gates of Hades, since Demeter was a chthonic goddess in her older local cults. The immediate dwellers-round were some small states and also Achaea-Phthiotis that probably paved the way for the entry of the body of the rest Boeotian tribes which were living around Thessaly (perioikoi).Boeotia and Phokis the remotest may have joined only during or after the "First Sacred War",which led to the defeat of the old priesthood and to a new control of the prosperity of the oracle at Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

.

As a result of the war the Anthelan body was known thenceforth as the Delphic Amphictyonie
Amphictyonic League
In the Archaic period of ancient Greece, an amphictyony , a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient association of Greek tribes formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek polis...

 and became the official overseer and military defender of the Delphic cult. A strange and revealing anti-Thessalian feeling appeared and a wall was built across the narrow defile at Thermopylae to keep the Thessalians out. This feeling is reflected in the short Boeotian epic The shield of Heracles.A local Thessalian hero interfering with the Phocian
Phocis
Phocis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece. It stretches from the western mountainsides of Parnassus on the east to the mountain range of Vardousia on the west, upon the Gulf of Corinth...

 sunctuary is killed by the Boeotian hero Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

,son of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 and Alcmene
Alcmene
In Greek mythology, Alcmene or Alcmena was the mother of Heracles.-Background:Alcmene was born to Electryon, the son of Perseus and Andromeda, and king of Tiryns and Mycenae or Medea in Argolis. Her mother was Anaxo, daughter of Alcaeus and Astydamia, daughter of Pelops and Hippodameia...

, whose mortal father had for allies Locrians
Locris
Locris was a region of ancient Greece, the homeland of the Locrians, made up of three distinct districts.-Locrian tribe:...

 and Phocians. This is a pastiche made to be sung at a Boeotian festival at midsummer at the hottest time of the dogstar Sirios.

The name Hellenes, which was originally the name of a Boeotian tribe in Phthia
Phthia
Phthia , Phthíē ) in ancient Greece was the southernmost region of ancient Thessaly, on both sides of Othrys Mountain. It was the homeland of the Myrmidones tribe, who took part in the Trojan War under Achilles....

, may be related to the members of the league and may have been broadened to refer to all Greeks when the myth of their patriarch Hellen
Hellen
Hellen , the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, brother of Amphictyon and father of Aeolus, Xuthus, and Dorus. His name is also another name for Greek, meaning a person of Greek descent or pertaining to Greek culture, and the source of the adjective "Hellenic".Each of his sons founded a primary tribe of...

 was invented. In Greek mythology Amphictyon
Amphictyon
Amphictyon , in Greek mythology, was the second son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, although there was also a tradition that he was autochthonous ; he is also said to be a son of Hellen son of Deucalion and Pyrrha. Amphictyon was king of Thermopylae and married a daughter of Cranaus of Athens...

 was brother of Hellen, and Graecus
Graecus
Graecus or Græcus was, according to Hesiod's "Eoiae" or Catalogue of Women on the origin of the Greeks, the son of Pandora II and Zeus...

 was son of his sister Pandora
Pandora
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts...

. According to the Parian Chronicle
Parian Chronicle
The Parian Marble or Parian Chronicle is a Greek chronological table, covering the years from 1581 BC to 264 BC, inscribed on a stele...

,the previously named Graeces were named Hellenes.

History



Boeotia had significant political importance, owing to its position on the north shore of the Gulf of Corinth
Gulf of Corinth
The Gulf of Corinth or the Corinthian Gulf is a deep inlet of the Ionian Sea separating the Peloponnese from western mainland Greece...

, the strategic strength of its frontiers, and the ease of communication within its extensive area. On the other hand, the lack of good harbours hindered its maritime development. The Boeotian people, although they included great men like Pindar
Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

, Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

, Epaminondas
Epaminondas
Epaminondas , or Epameinondas, was a Theban general and statesman of the 4th century BC who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics...

, Pelopidas
Pelopidas
Pelopidas was an important Theban statesman and general in Greece.-Athlete and warrior:He was a member of a distinguished family, and possessed great wealth which he expended on his friends, while content to lead the life of an athlete...

 and Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, were portrayed as proverbially dull by the Athenians (cf. Boeotian ears incapable of appreciating music or poetry and Hog-Boeotians, Cratinus
Cratinus
Cratinus , Athenian comic poet of the Old Comedy.-Life:Cratinus was victorious six times at the City Dionysia, first probably in the mid- to late 450s BCE , and three times at the Lenaia, first probably in the early 430s...

.310).

The importance of the legendary Minyae has been confirmed by archaeological remains (notably the "Treasury of Minyas"). The Boeotian population seems to have entered the land from the north possibly before the Dorian invasion. With the exception of the Minyae, the original peoples were soon absorbed by these immigrants, and the Boeotians henceforth appear as a homogeneous nation. Aeolic Greek
Aeolic Greek
Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia , Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor ....

 was spoken in Boeotia.

In historical times, the leading city of Boeotia was Thebes, whose central position and military strength made it a suitable capital; other major towns were Orchomenus, Plataea
Plataea
Plataea or Plataeae was an ancient city, located in Greece in southeastern Boeotia, south of Thebes. It was the location of the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC, in which an alliance of Greek city-states defeated the Persians....

, and Thespiae
Thespiae
Thespiae was an ancient Greek city in Boeotia. It stood on level ground commanded by the low range of hills which runs eastward from the foot of Mount Helicon to Thebes, near modern Thespies.-History:...

. It was the constant ambition of the Thebans to absorb the other townships into a single state, just as Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 had annexed the Attic
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

 communities. But the outlying cities successfully resisted this policy, and only allowed the formation of a loose federation which, initially, was merely religious.

While the Boeotians, unlike the Arcadia
Arcadia
Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan...

ns, generally acted as a united whole against foreign enemies, the constant struggle between the cities was a serious check on the nation's development. Boeotia hardly figures in history before the late 6th century BC. Previous to this, its people are chiefly known as the makers of a type of geometric pottery, similar to the Dipylon ware of Athens. In about 519 BC, the resistance of Plataea
Plataea
Plataea or Plataeae was an ancient city, located in Greece in southeastern Boeotia, south of Thebes. It was the location of the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC, in which an alliance of Greek city-states defeated the Persians....

 to the federating policy of Thebes led to the interference of Athens on behalf of the former; on this occasion, and again in 507 BC, the Athenians defeated the Boeotian levy.

During the Persian invasion of 480 BC, Thebes assisted the invaders. In consequence, for a time, the presidency of the Boeotian League was taken from Thebes, but in 457 BC the Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

ns reinstated that city as a bulwark against Athenian aggression after the Battle of Tanagra
Battle of Tanagra (457 BC)
There was a later battle at Tanagra during the Peloponnesian War; see Battle of Tanagra .The Battle of Tanagra took place in 457 BC between Athens and Sparta during the First Peloponnesian War.-Background:...

. Athens retaliated with a sudden advance upon Boeotia, and after the victory at the Battle of Oenophyta
Battle of Oenophyta
The Battle of Oenophyta took place between Athens and the Boeotian city-states in 457 BC during the First Peloponnesian War.In this period between the Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian War, alliances and leagues sprang up and collapsed, although there was very little prolonged warfare...

 took control of the whole country, taking down the wall the Spartans had built. With the victory the Athenians also occupied Phocis
Phocis
Phocis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece. It stretches from the western mountainsides of Parnassus on the east to the mountain range of Vardousia on the west, upon the Gulf of Corinth...

, the original source of the conflict, and Opuntian Locris
Locrians
The Locrians were an ancient Greek tribe in Greece. The Locrians spoke the Locrian dialect, a Doric-Northwest dialect, which indicates that they may have been relatives of the Dorians. They inhabited the ancient region of Locris in Central Greece....

. For ten years the land remained under Athenian control, which was exercised through the newly installed democracies; but in 447 BC the people revolted, and after a victory at the Battle of Coronea
Battle of Coronea (447 BC)
The Battle of Coronea took place between the Athenian-led Delian League and the Boeotian League in 447 BC during the First Peloponnesian War....

 regained their independence.


In the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 the Boeotians fought zealously against Athens. Though slightly estranged from Sparta after the peace of Nicias
Peace of Nicias
The Peace of Nicias was a peace treaty signed between the Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta in the March of 421 BC, ending the first half of the Peloponnesian War....

, they never abated their enmity against their neighbours. They rendered good service at Syracuse
Syracuse, Italy
Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in...

 and at the Battle of Arginusae
Battle of Arginusae
The naval Battle of Arginusae took place in 406 BC during the Peloponnesian War near the Arginusae islands east of the island of Lesbos. In the battle, an Athenian fleet commanded by eight strategoi defeated a Spartan fleet under Callicratidas...

 in the closing years of the Pelopennesian War; but their greatest achievement was the decisive victory at the Battle of Delium
Battle of Delium
The Battle of Delium or of Delion took place in 424 BC between the Athenians and the Boeotians, and ended with the siege of Delium in the following weeks.-Prelude:...

 over the Athenian army (424 BC) in which both their heavy infantry and their cavalry displayed unusual efficiency.
About this time the Boeotian League comprised eleven groups of sovereign cities and associated townships, each of which elected one Boeotarch or minister of war and foreign affairs, contributed sixty delegates to the federal council at Thebes, and supplied a contingent of about 1000 infantry and 100 cavalry to the federal army. A safeguard against undue encroachment on the part of the central government was provided in the councils of the individual cities, to which all important questions of policy had to be submitted for ratification. These local councils, to which the propertied classes alone were eligible, were subdivided into four sections, resembling the prytaneis
Prytaneis
The Prytaneis were the executives of the boule of ancient Athens. The term is probably of pre-Greek origin ....

 of the Athenian council, which took it in turns to vote on all new measures.

Two Boeotarchs were provided by Thebes, but by 395 BC Thebes was providing four Boeotarchs, including two who had represented places now conquered by Thebes such as Plataea, Scolus, Erythrae
Erythres
Erythres known as Κριεκούκι Kriekouki "red-head" in Arvanitika, perhaps named after an Arvanite leader; ) is a village and a former municipality in the northernmost part of West Attica, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Mandra-Eidyllia, of which it is a...

, and Scaphae. Orchomenus, Hysiae, and Tanagra
Tanagra
Tanagra is a town and a municipality north of Athens in Boeotia, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the town Schimatari. It is not far from Thebes, and it was noted in antiquity for the figurines named after it...

 each supplied one Boeotarch. Thespiae, Thisbe
Thisvi
Thisvi is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Thebes, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 4480 . The seat of the municipality was in Domvraina. The municipal unit is named after the ancient city of...

, and Eutresis supplied two between them. Haliartus, Lebadea and Coronea supplied one in turn, and so did Acraephnium, Copia
Copia (Boeotia)
Copae was an ancient Greek city on the northern shore of Lake Copais in Boeotia....

, and Chaeronea
Chaeronea
Chaeronea is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Livadeia, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 2,218...

.

Boeotia took a prominent part in the war of the Corinthian League against Sparta, especially in the battles of Haliartus
Battle of Haliartus
The Battle of Haliartus was fought in 395 BC between Sparta and Thebes. The Thebans defeated a Spartan force attempting to seize the town of Haliartus, killing the Spartan leader Lysander...

 and Coronea
Battle of Coronea (394 BC)
The Battle of Coronea in 394 BC was a battle in the Corinthian War, in which the Spartans and their allies under King Agesilaus II defeated a force of Thebans and Argives that was attempting to block their march back into the Peloponnese.-Prelude:...

 (395-394 BC). This change of policy seems mainly due to the national resentment against foreign interference. Yet disaffection against Thebes was now growing rife, and Sparta fostered this feeling by insisting on the complete independence of all the cities in the peace of Antalcidas (387 BC). In 374, Pelopidas
Pelopidas
Pelopidas was an important Theban statesman and general in Greece.-Athlete and warrior:He was a member of a distinguished family, and possessed great wealth which he expended on his friends, while content to lead the life of an athlete...

 restored Theban dominion and their control was never significantly challenged again.

Boeotian contingents fought in all the campaigns of Epaminondas
Epaminondas
Epaminondas , or Epameinondas, was a Theban general and statesman of the 4th century BC who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics...

 against the Spartans, most notably at the Battle of Leuctra
Battle of Leuctra
The Battle of Leuctra was a battle fought on July 6, 371 BC, between the Boeotians led by Thebans and the Spartans along with their allies amidst the post-Corinthian War conflict. The battle took place in the neighbourhood of Leuctra, a village in Boeotia in the territory of Thespiae...

 in 371, and in the later wars against Phocis
Phocis
Phocis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece. It stretches from the western mountainsides of Parnassus on the east to the mountain range of Vardousia on the west, upon the Gulf of Corinth...

 (356-346); while in the dealings with Philip of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 the cities merely followed Thebes. The federal constitution was also brought into accord with the democratic governments now prevalent throughout the land. Sovereign power was vested in the popular assembly, which elected the Boeotarchs (between seven and twelve in number), and sanctioned all laws. After the Battle of Chaeroneia
Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC)
The Battle of Chaeronea was fought in 338 BC, near the city of Chaeronea in Boeotia, between the forces of Philip II of Macedon and an alliance of Greek city-states...

, in which the Boeotian heavy infantry once again distinguished itself, the land never again rose to prosperity.

The destruction of Thebes by Alexander the Great (335) seems to have removed the political energy of the Boeotians. They never again pursued an independent policy, but followed the lead of protecting powers. Though military training and organization continued, the people proved unable to defend the frontiers, and the land became more than ever the "dancing-ground of Ares". Though enrolled for a short time in the Aetolian League (about 245 BC) Boeotia was generally loyal to Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

, and supported its later kings against Rome. Rome dissolved the league, but it was revived under Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, and merged with the other central Greek federations in the Achaea
Achaea
Achaea is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of West Greece. It is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras. The population exceeds 300,000 since 2001.-Geography:...

n synod. The death-blow to the country's prosperity was dealt by the devastations during the First Mithridatic War
First Mithridatic War
The First Mithridatic War was a war challenging Rome's expanding Empire and rule over the Greek world. In this conflict, the Kingdom of Pontus and many Greek cities rebelling against Rome were led by Mithridates VI of Pontus against the Roman Republic and the Kingdom of Bithynia...

.

Orchomenus (Boeotia)


In 1880-1886, Heinrich Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann was a German businessman and amateur archaeologist, and an advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Schliemann was an archaeological excavator of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns...

's excavations (H. Schliemann, Orchomenos, Leipzig 1881) revealed the tholos tomb he called the "Tomb of Minyas
Minyas (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Minyas was the founder of Orchomenus, Boetia. As the ancestor of the Minyans, a number of Boeotian genealogies lead back to him, according to the classicist H.J. Rose...

", a Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

an monument that equalled the "Tomb of Atreus" at Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

 itself. In 1893, A. de Ridder excavated the temple of Asklepios and some burials in the Roman necropolis. In 1903-1905, a Bavarian archaeological mission under Heinrich Bulle
Heinrich Bulle
Heinrich Bulle was a German archaeologist who was a native of Bremen.He studied classical archaeology in Freiburg im Breisgau and Munich, where he was a student of Heinrich Brunn . From 1898 to 1902 he was a lecturer at the University of Würzburg, and afterwards relocated to the University of...

 and Adolf Furtwängler
Adolf Furtwängler
Adolf Furtwängler was a famous German archaeologist, teacher, art historian and museum director. He was the father of the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler and grandfather of the German archaeologist Andreas Furtwängler....

 conducted successful excavations at the site. Research continued in 1970-1973 by the Archaeological Service under Theodore Spyropoulos
Theodore Spyropoulos
Theodore Spyropoulos is a Greek archeologist who is also a regional official of Greece's Central Archaeological Council.-Excavations at Tanagra:...

, uncovering the Mycenaean palace, a prehistoric cemetery, the ancient amphitheatre
Amphitheatre
An amphitheatre is an open-air venue used for entertainment and performances.There are two similar, but distinct, types of structure for which the word "amphitheatre" is used: Ancient Roman amphitheatres were large central performance spaces surrounded by ascending seating, and were commonly used...

, and other structures.

Pejorative term


Boeotia came to be proverbial for the stupidity of its inhabitants (OED), probably because of Athens' proud assertion of its cultural superiority compared to its rural neighbours.

Administration


The regional unit Boeotia is subdivided into 6 municipalities. These are (number as in the map in the infobox):
  • Aliartos
    Aliartos
    Aliartos is a municipality in the Boeotia regional unit, Greece, at 109 kilometres from Athens. Population 6,351 . It is the center of the Kopais valley...

     (2)
  • Distomo-Arachova-Antikyra (3)
  • Livadeia
    Livadeia
    Livadeia is a city in central Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture Boeotia. Livadeia is located 130 km NW of Athens, E of Nafpaktos, ESE of Amfissa and Desfina, SE of Lamia and west of Chalkida. Livadeia is linked with GR-48 and several kilometres west of GR-3. The area around Livadeia...

     (1)
  • Orchomenos (5)
  • Tanagra
    Tanagra
    Tanagra is a town and a municipality north of Athens in Boeotia, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the town Schimatari. It is not far from Thebes, and it was noted in antiquity for the figurines named after it...

     (6)
  • Thebes
    Thebes, Greece
    Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

     (Thiva, 4)

Prefecture


Boeotia was created as a prefecture
Prefectures of Greece
During the first administrative division of independent Greece in 1833–1836 and then again from 1845 until their abolition with the Kallikratis reform in 2010, the prefectures were the country's main administrative unit...

 in 1899 , and again in 1943 out of the Attica and Boeotia Prefecture
Attica and Boeotia Prefecture
Attica and Boeotia Prefecture , commonly known as Atticoboeotia was a prefecture of Greece. It was first established in 1833, abolished in 1836 and reconstituted in 1845. The prefecture was split up into separate Attica and Boeotia prefectures in the 1899 reform, but this was reverted in 1909...

. As a part of the 2011 Kallikratis government reform, the regional unit Boeotia was created out of the former prefecture Boeotia. The prefecture had the same territory as the present regional unit. At the same time, the municipalities were reorganised, according to the table below.
New municipality Old municipalities Seat
Aliartos
Aliartos
Aliartos is a municipality in the Boeotia regional unit, Greece, at 109 kilometres from Athens. Population 6,351 . It is the center of the Kopais valley...

Aliartos
Aliartos
Aliartos is a municipality in the Boeotia regional unit, Greece, at 109 kilometres from Athens. Population 6,351 . It is the center of the Kopais valley...

 
Aliartos
Thespies
Thespies
Thespies is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Aliartos, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 5,949 .Thespies is named after the ancient city of Thespiae....

Distomo-Arachova-Antikyra Distomo
Distomo
Distomo , older forms: Distomon is a municipality in the Boeotia Prefecture, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Distomo-Arachova-Antikyra, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

 
Distomo
Arachova
Arachova
Arachova is a town and a former municipality in the western part of Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Distomon - Arachova - Antikyra, according the programme Kallikrates, of which it is a municipal unit....

Antikyra
Antikyra
Antikyra is a town and a former community in Boeotia, Greece, near the location of the ancient settlement Anticyra. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Distomo-Arachova-Antikyra, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 2,984 . Antikyra is located about...

Livadeia
Livadeia
Livadeia is a city in central Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture Boeotia. Livadeia is located 130 km NW of Athens, E of Nafpaktos, ESE of Amfissa and Desfina, SE of Lamia and west of Chalkida. Livadeia is linked with GR-48 and several kilometres west of GR-3. The area around Livadeia...

Livadeia
Livadeia
Livadeia is a city in central Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture Boeotia. Livadeia is located 130 km NW of Athens, E of Nafpaktos, ESE of Amfissa and Desfina, SE of Lamia and west of Chalkida. Livadeia is linked with GR-48 and several kilometres west of GR-3. The area around Livadeia...

 
Livadeia
Davleia
Davleia
Davleia is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Livadeia, of which it is a municipal unit. Its name comes from the ancient settlement Daulis. The municipality includes the eastern portion of Mount Parnassos....

Koroneia
Koroneia, Boeotia
Koroneia is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Livadeia, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 4,625...

Kyriaki
Kyriaki
Kyriaki is a village and a former community in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Livadeia, of which it is a municipal unit. Its 2001 population was 2,194 for the village and 2,420 for the community....

Chaironeia
Orchomenos  Orchomenos  Orchomenos
Akraifnia
Akraifnia
Akraifnia is a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Orchomenos, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 3,230 . The seat of the municipality was in Akraifnio....

Tanagra
Tanagra
Tanagra is a town and a municipality north of Athens in Boeotia, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the town Schimatari. It is not far from Thebes, and it was noted in antiquity for the figurines named after it...

Tanagra
Tanagra
Tanagra is a town and a municipality north of Athens in Boeotia, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the town Schimatari. It is not far from Thebes, and it was noted in antiquity for the figurines named after it...

 
Schimatari
Dervenochoria
Oinofyta
Oinofyta
Oinofyta is a village and former municipality in eastern Boeotia, Greece. Following the local government reform of 2011 it is now part of the municipality of Tanagra, of which it is a municipal unit...

Schimatari
Schimatari
Schimatari is a town and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Tanagra, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. Population 8,095 . The Asopus River is 3 to 4 km to the south. The Greek National Road 1 passes...

Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

 (Thiva)
Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

 
Thebes
Vagia
Vagia
Vagia is a small town and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Thebes, of which it is a municipal unit....

Thisvi
Thisvi
Thisvi is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Thebes, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 4480 . The seat of the municipality was in Domvraina. The municipal unit is named after the ancient city of...

Plataies
Plataies
Plataies is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Thebes, of which it is a municipal unit. Population 4,715 . The seat of the former municipality was in Kaparelli....


Provinces


The provinces
Provinces of Greece
The provinces of Greece were sub-divisions of some the country's prefectures. From 1887, the provinces were abolished as actual administrative units, but were retained for some state services, especially finance services and education, as well as for electoral purposes...

 were:
  • Livadeia Province
    Livadeia Province
    Livadeia Province was one of the provinces of Greece, located in Boeotia Prefecture.-References:* http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Επαρχίες_της_Ελλάδας...

     - Livadeia
    Livadeia
    Livadeia is a city in central Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture Boeotia. Livadeia is located 130 km NW of Athens, E of Nafpaktos, ESE of Amfissa and Desfina, SE of Lamia and west of Chalkida. Livadeia is linked with GR-48 and several kilometres west of GR-3. The area around Livadeia...

  • Thiva Province
    Thiva Province
    -References:* http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/Επαρχίες_της_Ελλάδας...

     - Thiva (Thebes
    Thebes, Greece
    Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

    )

Economy


Boeotia is the home of the third largest pasta
Pasta
Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, now of worldwide renown. It takes the form of unleavened dough, made in Italy, mostly of durum wheat , water and sometimes eggs. Pasta comes in a variety of different shapes that serve for both decoration and to act as a carrier for the...

 factory in Europe, built by Misko
Misko
Misko SA is a Greek company, now owned by Italian Barilla Group, that produces and sells pasta in Greece. It also serves other parts of the world, particularly the Greek diaspora....

, a member of Barilla Group.

Transport

  • Greek National Road 1
    Greek National Road 1
    The Greek Motorway 1 is a motorway, partly under construction, and the 2nd longest in Greece. It is the principal north-south road connection in Greece, connecting the country's capital Athens with the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia, as well as the country's second largest city,...

    /E75
    European route E75
    European route E 75 is part of the International E-road network, which is a series of main roads in Europe.The E 75 starts from Vardø, Norway in the Barents Sea and runs south through Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Republic of Macedonia to Sitia, Greece on...

    , SE, E, NE
  • Greek National Road 3
    Greek National Road 3
    Greek National Road 3 begins from Eleusis and heads north, passing Larissa, Florina and terminates at the border with the Republic of Macedonia in Niki, which from there links with the M3. The road is part of the E65. In the late 1980s, motorway bypasses have been constructed for the towns...

    , S, E, Cen., W, NW
  • Greek National Road 27
    Greek National Road 27
    Greek National Road 27 is a highway linking Itea, Amfissa and Lamia. The south to north highway is divided into two sections, the Itea and Amfissa Highway and the Amfissa - Lamia Highway. It is now the only highway linking Patras and the western Peloponnese and Central, Northcentral and Northern...

    , W, SW
  • Greek National Road 44
    Greek National Road 44
    Greek National Road 44 is a highway linking the cities of Thiva, Chalkida and Karystos. The total length is nearly 200 km. The highway passes in the prefectures of Viotia and Euboea. Much of the highway has curvy roads....

    , E
  • Greek National Road 48
    Greek National Road 48
    Greek National Road 48 is a highway in Western and Central Greece. It runs from 2 km south of Rio at GR-8/GR-9 , or at the beginning of the Patras By-Pass in the south up to near Levadia. It is now connected with a new bridge, the Rio-Antirio bridge and for 5 km is a joint with GR-5...

    , W

Natives of Boeotia

  • Bakis
    Bakis
    Bakis or Bacis is a general name for the inspired prophets and dispensers of oracles who flourished in Greece from the 8th to the 6th century B.C. Suidas mentions three: a Boeotian, an Arcadian and an Athenian....

  • Epaminondas
    Epaminondas
    Epaminondas , or Epameinondas, was a Theban general and statesman of the 4th century BC who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics...

  • Gorgidas
    Gorgidas
    Gorgidas was the first known Theban military leader of the Sacred Band of Thebes.Plutarch chronicled their exploits. Gorgidas, around 378 BC, first established the Sacred Band by choosing couples from his army...

  • Hesiod
    Hesiod
    Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

  • Luke the Evangelist
    Luke the Evangelist
    Luke the Evangelist was an Early Christian writer whom Church Fathers such as Jerome and Eusebius said was the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles...

     (Traditional location of death)
  • Pelopidas
    Pelopidas
    Pelopidas was an important Theban statesman and general in Greece.-Athlete and warrior:He was a member of a distinguished family, and possessed great wealth which he expended on his friends, while content to lead the life of an athlete...

  • Pindar
    Pindar
    Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

  • Plutarch
    Plutarch
    Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

  • Sophocles
    Sophocles
    Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

  • Narcissus (mythology)
    Narcissus (mythology)
    Narcissus or Narkissos , possibly derived from ναρκη meaning "sleep, numbness," in Greek mythology was a hunter from the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia who was renowned for his beauty. He was exceptionally proud, in that he disdained those who loved him...


See also

  • Minyans
    Minyans
    According to Greek mythology and legendary prehistory of the Aegean region, the Minyans were an autochthonous group inhabiting the Aegean region...

  • Ogyges
    Ogyges
    Ogyges, Ogygus or Ogygos is a primeval mythological ruler in ancient Greece, generally of Boeotia, but an alternative tradition makes him the first king of Attica.-Etymology:...

  • Aeolic Greek
    Aeolic Greek
    Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia , Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor ....

  • List of settlements in the Boeotia prefecture
  • Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
    Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
    See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

  • Graea
    Graea
    Graea or Graia is a region,or a city of ancient Greece that is placed under Boeotia in Homer's Catalogue of Ships; it seems to have included the city of Oropos, though by the fifth century BC it was probably a kome of that city...

  • Graiki
    Graiki
    Graiki was the name given by some ancient sources to the area out of ancient Attica including ancient Boeotia. The word seems to be derived from the Greek word "graia" meaning "old lady" , and the region is related with the Ogygian deluge, the first mentioned worldwide deluge in Greek...


Sources